On Sunday, Jan. 28, the North Fork Polar Bears, a winter swim group of more than 130 members and growing, will host its 2nd Annual Splash for CAST – a charitable cold-water plunge open to the public, taking place at 10:30 a.m. at Silver Sands Motel & Beach Bungalows at 1400 Silvermere Road in Greenport. Check-in begins at 9:30 a.m.

Funds raised from the event will benefit the Center for Advocacy, Support & Transformation (CAST) and Back to the Bays, an initiative of Cornell Cooperative’s Marine program dedicated to preserving and protecting Long Island waters.

CAST is a non-profit organization that has been helping low-income residents of the North Fork community meet their basic needs while providing education and workforce training opportunities to improve economic security and family well-being since 1965.

“This is a fun and invigorating way for everyone in our community to make a splash for CAST and Back to the Bays by supporting their important work – they do so much good for people on the North Fork and the incredible waters that bring us so much joy,” said Patricia Garcia-Gomez, co-founder of the North Fork Polar Bears.

More than 200 plungers splashed for their community at the North Fork Polar Bears’ 2023 inaugural plunge in January of 2023, and more than 200 people came out to support the brave plungers.

This year, the North Fork Polar Bears are raising the stakes, aiming for 300 plungers to join in the frigid fun, with a fundraising goal of $75,000 in support of community, health and wellness, and stewardship of clean and healthy waters. Paddleboarders are welcome to participate. 

A fisheye view of last year’s Splash for CAST at Truman’s Beach in East Marion.

“We are so grateful to the North Fork Polar Bears for bringing the community together to brave the cold
for the benefit of our North Fork and Shelter Island neighbors in need who are struggling to make ends
meet especially during the difficult winter months. And we greatly appreciate the generosity of Silver
Sands for sharing their beautiful space for this charity event,” said Cathy Demeroto, CAST Executive Director.

“We’re so excited to be included as a beneficiary of this year’s event,” said Kimberly Barbour, CCE Marine Program’s Back to the Bays Director. “The proceeds generated from the plunge will support both CAST’s important work and enable us to establish a new Back to the Bays Stewardship Site on the
North Fork. At this new site we will work in partnership with the North Fork Polar Bears to restore essential marine and coastal habitat, establish a new spat-on-shell oyster reef, and seed the bay with clams and scallops, and, of course, involve the public in these important environmental stewardship
efforts.”

Registration levels for the Splash for CAST are $25, $50, and $125. All participants will receive North Fork Polar Bears’ Splash for CAST merchandise and coupons to local businesses, based on their registration level. Preregistration is strongly encouraged.

Sponsorships are also available. To register, sponsor, donate, or fundraise, participants can visit this link: https://CASTSplash2.givesmart.com

Silver Sands Motel will provide hot drinks, towels, fire pits and food for purchase before and after the plunge. Participants can wear anything they’d like – bathing suits, neoprene suits, swim gloves, swim booties, winter hats or swim caps. The plunge will take place rain, shine or snow! If extreme weather is predicted and cancellation is unavoidable, all registrants will be advised via email in advance.

For more details about the North Fork Polar Bears, visit @NorthForkPolarBears on Instagram. More details about CAT are at www.castnorthfork.org, and more information about Back to the Bays is at backtothebays.org.


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